Canon U.S.A., Inc.

Author:Ed Dinger

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1 Canon Plaza

Lake Success, New York 11042-1198


Telephone: (516) 328-5000

Fax: (516) 328-5069

Web site:


In 2001 Canon U.S.A., Inc., a subsidiary of the Japanese printer, copier, and peripherals manufacturer Canon Inc., introduced a compact digital-photo printer, which offered speed and the convenience of being able to connect directly to a digital camera. The category was small but growing, prompting Canon in the fall of 2003 to launch the "85 Second Photo Lab" campaign, developed with New York's DCA Advertising. The goal was not only to support the launch of a new printer, the CP-300 Card Photo Printer, but also to bring energy to the category.

The $5 million "85 Second Photo Lab" campaign consisted of three television commercials, all of which demonstrated how a digital-camera user could quickly connect to a Canon Card Photo Printer and have a quality print in hand less than a minute and a half later. The television spots were supported by three print ads, which appeared in a variety of consumer magazines. They showed the Canon printer in typical picture-taking situations, such as at a child's soccer game, at a wedding, and at a vacation destination.

Ending in the early weeks of 2004, the campaign succeeded in boosting sales and brand awareness, and it set the stage for the launch of the next generation of Canon compact printers. It also won an EFFIE award, which singled out the campaign for creative achievement.


Canon's founders developed Japan's first 35-millimeter camera in 1934 and incorporated their business three years later. Canon gained a foothold in the U.S. market after World War II, when American servicemen returned home with the high-quality Japanese cameras they had bought at military base exchanges. The company branched into business machines in the 1960s, first with calculators and then with photocopiers, a market in which Canon became a serious challenger to Xerox. In addition to successfully diversifying its business, Canon proved to be a savvy marketer over the years. Although Nikon produced better quality cameras, Canon was able to surpass Nikon as Japan's top-selling camera brand in the early 1980s. In the United States, Canon also scored marketing triumphs with its EOS (electronic optical system) line of cameras in the late 1980s.

By the early 1990s only one-fifth of Canon's revenues came from camera sales, putting the company in a better position than Japanese rivals such as Minolta and Nikon, which suffered when camera sales dropped as a result of the market maturing. Canon was also less exposed than other camera companies as digital photography began to change the landscape at a rapid pace in

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the 1990s, and consumer electronics companies like Hewlett-Packard, Sony, and Nokia entered the field and used their marketing prowess to gain significant shares in the digital arena. Old-guard competitors such as Kodak, Polaroid, and Fuji miscalculated how rapidly digital technology would eclipse film, the sale of which had been highly profitable and difficult to give up.

But by the start of the 2000s there was no doubt that digital had arrived. It was also becoming clear that, just as control of the film market had been the key to the success of Kodak and Fuji, whoever was able to stake a claim to the output side of digital photography (that is, prints) would be better positioned for the long term...

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